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Stepping stone to help prisoners back into community

Prisoners can prepare for life on the outside Credit: ITV Granada Reports

A women's prison in Cheshire opens a new halfway-house today which will which will act as a stepping stone back into the community for prisoners nearing release.

It's the first of its kind in the country and is just outside the prison gates. It's hoped it will give low risk prisoners the opportunity to find work, re-establish family ties, reintegrate into the community and ensure housing needs are met before their release.

Until today, a female offender nearing release would need to move to one of only two women’s open prisons, often a long distance away from their homes, families and local community.

HMP Styal is the first prison to launch its open accommodation, with a house just beyond the prison gate which will house up to 25 offenders.

Chance for prisoners to prepare for release Credit: ITV Granada Reports

“The launch of the open accommodation at Styal is the first step of a vital reform we are making to the women’s prison estate –helping female offenders prepare for their release by testing them in open conditions, and at the same time keeping them as close to home as possible.

“This will mean that before leaving custody, they can already start to make the local links they need on their release – such as finding job opportunities, housing, or other local services.

“These are essential factors to helping offenders turn away from crime and change their lives for good.”

– Justice Minister Simon Hughes

Convicted murderer arrested in Oldham after going on the run

Arnold Pickering Credit: Merseyside Police/PA Wire

A convicted murderer who stabbed a blind man to death has been arrested in Oldham after going on the run from prison.

Arnold Pickering was arrested for being unlawfully at large at an address in Oldham, police said.

The 44-year-old, who was jailed for life in 1991 for killing a man he wrongly thought to be a paedophile, failed to return to HMP Kennet in Merseyside after leaving the Category C jail on day release on Saturday.

Merseyside Police said he was arrested by officers from Greater Manchester Police and is now in custody.


  1. National

MP: 'We care more about human rights of murderers'

The UK has come to "care more about the human rights of murderers" than the victims bereaved relatives, according to a Conservative MP.

Philip Davies raised concerns that letting convicted criminals out on day release was not transparent enough and violent criminals were kept in prisons lacking the kind of security needed to keep them behind bars.

He told Good Morning Britain: "It seems the human rights of murderers seem more important than those of the victims and the law abiding citizens."


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